Ben Bova: Is Santa a Democrat or Republican?

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Is Santa Claus a Democrat or a Republican?

This may seem like a trivial question, especially since Santa, who allegedly resides at the North Pole, is probably not a citizen of the United States.

But you don’t have to be a voter to take sides. I know lots of people who argue politics at the top of their lungs yet don’t bother to vote.

Is Santa a Democrat or a Republican?

Santa is obviously an internationalist. He zips around the entire world on Christmas Eve, bringing toys to children regardless of race, creed, color or nationality. Sounds like a Democrat, in that regard. Republicans are traditionally more circumspect in their international relations.

On the other hand, Santa only brings gifts to good little boys and girls. He spends most of the year investigating the children, to find out who’s naughty and who’s nice. That sounds Republican, especially if he uses illegal wiretaps and other surveillance techniques without a court order.

Santa is usually depicted as round and jolly. He apparently does not adhere to a healthful, low-calorie diet. And he smokes a pipe, I’m told. If he’s a Democrat, he obviously isn’t a member of the leftist wing that wants to eliminate unhealthful foods from our supermarkets and prohibit tobacco altogether.

He employs an unknown number of elves, whose origin is indistinct. They work all year up there at the North Pole making toys for Santa to distribute worldwide on Christmas Eve. It seems clear that these elves are taking jobs from American workers. They are not Americans themselves, of course. Most likely they are immigrant workers, although where they’ve immigrated from is obscure.

Be that as it may, what does this tell us about Santa’s political affiliation? Hiring immigrant labor that takes jobs away from American workers — is that a trait of Democrats or Republicans? Based on the evidence at hand, I’d have to say that it could be either way. Both our major political parties blather about illegal immigration; neither has done much about it.

Santa also keeps these reindeer which somehow have acquired the ability to fly. Maybe they’ve been genetically engineered for aeronautical talent. A Democrat would probably have a more liberal attitude toward genetic engineering than your typical Republican.

One the other hand, keeping those reindeer could be construed as being unkind to animals, something that the Dick Cheney wing of the Republican Party has often been accused of.

It should be noted that, despite his association with the Christian holiday of Christ’s birth, Santa Claus has remarkably little to do with religion. Santa carries no symbols or symbolism of Christianity — nor of any other religion, come to think of it. Thus, Santa presents no conflict of church versus state. That would seem to lean him toward the Democratic persuasion.

On the other hand, Santa’s pedigree includes the notion that he originated as St. Nicholas, as thoroughly Christian as you can get. Does that tilt him toward the conservative wing of the Republicans?

The long and the short of it is that there simply isn’t enough hard evidence to show that Santa’s heart and mind belong to either the Republicans or the Democrats. From all that we know of Santa Claus, he is — dare I say it? — above partisan politics. He seems to be in business strictly for the children — and those elves of dubious nationality.

Of course, Santa has troubles of his own. It’s bad enough to have to race around the whole world in a single night distributing toys and gifts to good girls and boys and snubbing the naughty ones.

But what about Santa’s home base at the North Pole? It’s been solidly planted on ice since time immemorial, but the Arctic Ocean’s ice has been thinning noticeably lately. Ships can traverse the Northwest Passage in summertime without ice blocking their way. Will the ice melt totally, plunking Santa’s home and workshop — and those elves — into the water?

It’s something to worry about, especially if you’ve been a good little boy or girl all year long.

Merry Christmas!

Bova, a Naples resident, is the author of more than 120 books, including “The Return,” his latest futuristic novel. Bova’s Web site address is www.benbova.com

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